Former Somerset House Studios resident

Nick Ryan

Multi-disciplinary artist and composer exploring the auditory representation of information, physical materiality and space.

Somerset House Studios
New Wing

Nick Ryan is widely recognised for his uniquely conceptual approach to creating audio experiences and as a leading thinker on the future of sound. Much of his work involves applying emerging technologies to the making or listening process, or introducing people to new ways of thinking about audio.  His work explores auditory representations of information, language, physical materiality and space through the creation of sound and multi sensory installations, bespoke instruments, generative/reactive/interactive audio experiences and data sonifications.

In November 2022, Nick launched The VoiceLine, a unique sound instrument for voice, sound, music and audio storytelling, that celebrated the histories of radio and listening which began on The Strand 100 years ago and changed the world. The 170m long installation lived as a public sound instrument for five months and reached tens of thousands of people in that time.

Nick has acted as the Supervising sound editor & Sound designer for a number of award winning documentaries, including ‘The Reason I Jump’ a multisensory depiction of autism that is startling, demystifying and unravels neurotypical stereotypes. As well as this, Nick was awarded an EMMY for his contribution to the feature documentary film, ‘Fathom’, directed by Drew Xanthopolous, which follows the story of two marine biologists exploring communication between humans and whales.

Nick's work includes projects with MIT Media Lab, BANFF Centre for the Arts, Montreal Film Festival, Screen Australia, European Broadcasting Union, BFI, Aldeburgh Music, The National Gallery, London Science Museum and UKTI. He is the recipient of a BAFTA for Technical Innovation and a Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel for sound editing, and is a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Plymouth University. 

A recent collaboration with filmmaker Cath Le Couteur resulted in ‘Adrift’, a project which explores the hidden world of Space Debris through a film, interactive experience and sound instrument. Nick’s instrument ‘Machine 9’ transforms space debris in the upper atmosphere into sound, live as it passes overhead and was recently exhibited at the Science Museum in London.

During his residency Nick will continue to explore his fascination with what he sees as permeable boundaries that lie between our experience of listening as an immediate and visceral sensation and our cognitive experience of sound as a carrier of information. In particular, Nick hopes to explore connections between sound forms found in language and the physical properties manifest in the world. A key part of this exploratory work will involve experimentation with other artists working at Somerset House in disciplines Nick hasn’t previously brought into his work such as object making and human movement and visualisation.

LOW RES_James Boag's Meteorphonium Instrument 1.jpg

James Boag's Meteorphonium Instrument
James Boag's Meteorphonium Instrument

LOW RES Tate Sensorium, Room 1 1.jpg

Tate Sensorium, Room 1
Tate Sensorium, Room 1

LOW RES_Tate Sensorium, Room 2 1.jpg

Tate Sensorium, Room 2
Tate Sensorium, Room 2